25 September 2017: Moving well outside my comfort zone, I am posting a series of photos in black and white this week, on encouragement by Árni Svanur Daníelsson. This first photo is from an evening service at the Högalid Church in Stockholm, Sweden. Lights are put out and the church goes dark in the evening of Maundy Thursday, marking the arrival of Good Friday and the suffering of Jesus on the cross.
26 September 2017: Taking a step outside my comfort zone, I am continuing the series of photos in black and white this week, on encouragement by Árni Svanur Daníelsson. This photo is from central Stockholm, in April this year. Days after a lorry was driven into a store on Queen’s Street in central Stockholm in an act of terror, this young woman and her friends offered free hugs to passers-by at the adjacent square, Sergel’s Torg.
27 September 2017: This man and I met out of chance in March this year on the mountain of Thaba Bosiu, some 24 kilometers east of Maseru, Lesotho. He was heading up the mountain together with a group of colleagues from a rehabilitation centre for people suffering from drug or alcohol addition. It was a fitting coincidence, as I was in Lesotho to report on churches’ work providing health services, for the World Council of Churches. The group agreed to have their photos taken before we said goodbye.
Having heard Sean T. Hawkey describe the process behind his wetplate silver portraits, where long-exposures require the subject to do away with their regular happy-snapshot-face in order to sit completely still for more than just a few seconds, these days I sometimes take the opportunity when shooting portraits to outwait my subjects before pressing the shutter, to see if they turn into a resting face, perhaps not so much focused on the presence of the camera.
28 September 2017: Our ventures into the realm of black-and-white photography continue, and as today is Thursday, I feel compelled to highlight the #ThursdaysInBlack campaign, endorsed by the World Council of Churches, the Lutheran World Federation and a range of ecumenical and other partners around the world, all agreeing to take a stand for a world without rape and violence.
This collection is from the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva last week. By dressing in black from top to toe every Thursday, colleagues show solidarity with victims of sexual and gender-based violence.
29 September 2017: Apparently, as I continue to discover this week, shifting a photo over to black and white can have interesting effects. As in this photo, where the silhouette of a praying woman suddenly appears almost like a shadow on the wall.
The photo is from a service I attended at Tullinge Church in Botkyrka south of Stockholm, earlier this year. Parishes in the Church of Sweden regularly offer what is called a “family service”, meaning the liturgy, choice of songs, prayers and readings are particularly adapted to welcome the whole family, including the littlest of children.
30 September 2017: Today is a difficult day in the landscape of Swedish politics and society. As I am writing this, we can read in the news about a group of Nazi sympathizers marching through Gothenburg, currently in confrontation with Police forces as they have attempted to take an uncharted route. The march, although criticized by a range of politicians and public actors, has received official permission by Swedish Police authorities to move through the town, despite concurrence with the holy Jewish day of Yom Kippur.
Fortunately, thousands upon thousands of peaceful demonstrators have also gathered in Gothenburg today, to mark their dismay against this upsurge in Nazi activity, to say that as a society, we are ready to stand up against oppressive forces. And so today in black and white, I’m sharing a simple photo, as a token of gratitude to all those who believe in dialogue, and in the sharing of peace with one another.